For Catholics, the month of May evokes memories of May processions, First Communions, and priestly ordinations. Our spiritual life has a Marian dimension with a profound link between Mary and the Eucharist. In his encyclical, Mother of the Redeemer, Pope Saint John Paul II reminds us that “Mary guides the faithful to the Eucharist” (par. 44). Mary has a special relationship with the priesthood. Pope Benedict XVI invoked her as the Mother of priests. “Her spirit of service inspires the priestly ministry. “They are more like Jesus, the supreme love of her heart, and because, like her, they are committed to the mission of proclaiming, bearing witness to and giving Christ to the world (General Audience, August 15, 2009).”
Pope St. John Paul 2 had a special place in his heart for young men preparing for the priesthood. Each Holy Thursday during his pontificate (1979-2005), he wrote a letter to seminarians. In his first letter, he asked them to “think of the places where people anxiously await a priest, and where for many years, feeling the lack of such a priest, they do not cease to hope for his presence.” During the years of Communism in Nowogrodek following the execution of our Martyred Sisters, Venerable Servant of God Sister Malgorzata Banas CSFN lived in the tiny sacristy of the village church and continued to prepare children for the sacraments. When the parish priest went into hiding for his own safety, Sr. Malgorzata maintained the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the church and was instrumental in keeping alive the faith of the townspeople.
We will soon conclude the first year of the National Eucharistic Revival, the Year of Diocesan Revival. During this time, diocesan leaders have discerned how to answer Our Lord’s call to revival in their own dioceses. Discernment has also taken place on the national level, and many resources developed to stir engaged Catholics to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist. Two of these resources are the National Eucharistic Revival blog and the Heart of the Revival newsletter. New opportunities are available as we move into the second year of the National Eucharistic Revival:
The USCCB is inviting Catholic composers, hymn-writers, and poets to submit entries for the Eucharistic Revival Musical Competition. The goal of this competition is to express and renew zeal for the Eucharist through poetry and song. You can submit your entry using the following link: https://www.eucharisticcongress.org/musical-competition.
The Revival Team is forming Prayer Partners, a dedicated group of spiritual advocates! These Prayer Partners will support the Revival through prayer, fasting, and penance. To unlock special inspiration and opportunities—and win graces for the Revival you can sign up at https://www.eucharisticrevival.org/get-involved.
A National Eucharistic Congress will initiate the third year of the Renewal. This five-day event to be held in Indianapolis, IN, July 17-21, 2024, will be the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in 83 years. For more information, visit the website: https://www.eucharisticcongress.org.
During the upcoming Year of Parish Revival, every parish in the country will be given opportunities to experience profound renewal by participating in grassroots efforts to deepen understanding and devotion to the Eucharist within their own communities. Be an advocate for your parish! Contact your pastor and express an interest to become more involved. Also, look for the Parish Year Playbook and more resources for the Year of Parish Revival in the coming weeks on the Eucharistic Revival website: https://www.eucharisticrevival.org.
Without our priests, we would not have this great gift of the Eucharist. Let us support them with our prayers and encouragement. Let us pray also for an increase of vocations to the priesthood. God bless you and your families as we strive to grow closer to our Eucharistic Lord throughout this Easter Season.
Sister M. Marcella Louise Wallowicz CSFN